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Where the Wild Things Are Book Summary

by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak


Where the Wild Things Are takes young readers on a fantastical journey with Max, a mischievous boy who, after causing chaos at home, sails away to an island inhabited by wild creatures. Despite their fearsome appearance, Max tames the Wild Things with a magic trick and becomes their king. However, he soon finds himself longing for the comfort and love of home, leading him to embark on a journey back to his own room.

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Author & Writing Background

Maurice Sendak was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books, best known for his unique and sometimes dark artistic style. His childhood experiences and fascination with psychology greatly influenced his work, often exploring themes of childhood emotions, fears, and imagination. Sendak received numerous awards, including the Caldecott Medal for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and is considered one of the most important figures in children’s literature.

Key Takeaways

Max’s Mischief

The story begins with Max causing havoc at home, leading his mother to send him to bed without supper. This sets the stage for his imaginary journey.

Voyage to the Land of Wild Things

Max’s room transforms into a jungle, and he sails away in a boat to an island inhabited by fearsome-looking Wild Things.

Taming the Wild Things

Using a ‘magic trick’ (staring into their yellow eyes without blinking), Max intimidates the Wild Things and becomes their king.

Wild Rumpus

Max and the Wild Things engage in a wild and joyous celebration, indulging in mischief and revelry.

Longing for Home

Despite the fun and freedom, Max begins to feel lonely and misses the love and comfort of home.

Return Journey

Max decides to leave the Wild Things and sails back to his room, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.

Themes of Childhood

The book explores universal themes of childhood emotions such as anger, loneliness, and the need for love and belonging.

Power of Imagination

Max’s imaginary journey highlights the power of imagination and its ability to help children cope with difficult emotions.

FAQ about Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are Quotes

  • “And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”
  • “Let the wild rumpus start!”
  • “And it was still hot.”